Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Big Bag o Blog Links to start the new year

China in Africa meets Micro-livestock: a new research program is introducing Chinese weaver ants to African fruit trees to combat pests. The researchers note that if this works, it is: green and organic, another source of income and jobs (rearing ants to sell farmers), and a viable protein source for people who don't mind eating ants.

Half of a charter city: Dijbouti, Ethiopia. The charter city part comes at the end of a lengthy musing on Ethiopian political history, wondering why democracy has taken so little hold.

A policy entrepreneur in India is using Facebook to increasing citizen access to government (ie - complain here) and improve information sharing between government sectors.

GMOs meet Florida orange juice to prevent an insect-borne bacteria which causes "greening" that wipes out the crop and the tree. "Most scientists who have studied the problem seem to agree that genetic modification, and the cultivation of trees resistant to the bacteria that causes "greening" disease, currently hold out the only real long-term hope of fighting it." That was the conclusion of a report sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus and U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Obama is signing the food safety bill today ... but where will the money come from?

A defense of large incomes for people in finance: "As long as we have an economy that is increasingly dominated by “idea companies,” where the idea is really, really hard to discover and really easy to implement once discovered, finance will earn huge gains." (Response to the responses)

On the gains from having a single currency in the US. To Libertarians, this is called the transaction cost side of private currency creation.

Education spending and minorities: it's easier/more cost-effective to educate a homogeneous population. Tino shows that once you remove immigrant populations from the analysis, the relationship between education spending and outcomes is large and positive. It only looks like additional spending worsens or has no effect on outcomes in the full sample because it's much more expensive to educate more diverse groups, who have lower outcomes for a variety of reasons. Within minority groups too, there is evidence of the same positive effect. The 0-effect sometimes observed is an artifact of lumping groups together.

Which shipping company is best for your package? Depends on the type of package. USPS is gentlest with packages but worst with Express Mail. All carriers were less careful with Fragile boxes.

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